Man who sent sexual pictures to 11-year-old girl is spared prison

Ipswich crown court building

Liam Everett, 21, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A man who sent messages and pictures of a sexual nature to an 11-year-old girl has avoided an immediate prison sentence. 

Liam Everett, 21, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentence having previously pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communication with a child. 

Everett communicated with the girl over two weeks in February 2019, the court heard. 

Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting, said the offending came to light when the girl's 18-year-old sister saw the 11-year-old's phone ringing constantly late at night. 

The victim's sister was able to check the phone and discovered the sexual messages as well as sexual pictures in Instagram direct messages, Mr Sawyer said. 

The sister took photographs of the messages on the family's iPad and was able to find Everett on Facebook and messaged him. 

In his reply, Everett admitted he was 18 years old and apologised for what he had done, Mr Sawyer said. 

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The police were contacted and Everett was arrested on March 8, 2019. 

His iPhone was seized and in police interview, he answered "no comment" to questions from officers, the court heard. 

Two victim personal statements, from the victim's mother and sister, were read to the court by Mr Sawyer which outlined the impact on the 11-year-old's family. 

The mother told the court how the offending will live with the family "forever", and said Everett had preyed on her daughter. 

Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said the images that Everett had sent were not of himself, they were from the internet. 

Mr Thompson said that Everett has maintained that although knowing the girl was young, he did not know how young she was until he was confronted with that information online. 

Everett, of Holmere Drive, Halesworth, who had no previous convictions, works as a chef, the court heard. 

Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Emma Peters told Everett he had robbed the 11-year-old of her innocence, and that his offending had had a significant impact on the victim and her family. 

Judge Peters sentenced Everett to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with up to 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days. 

He was also ordered to complete the Horizon programme and pay court costs of £250. 

Everett must also sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years, and a 10-year sexual harm prevention order was imposed.